Qalandiya, Thu 3.12.09, Afternoon
Beit Iksa - Ras Bidu Checkpoint and Givat Zeev
From 2:15 PM until 4:45 PM
After meeting in Ramot we continued past the Ramot CP so we would not be stopped if we made the turn towards Beit Iksa. Most of the transits had been moved away from the main road further down on the road to Beit Iksa - most had Palestinian number plates. We proceeded to the new Checkpoint called Ras Bidu beyond Beit Iksa and marveled at the beautifully asphalted road with the white arrows and brand new signs showing where cabs should park - but there were no taxis. No one checked us in that direction and we continued a little before turning around and had to wait for some time for two cars in front of us which were being investigated rather meticulously, but there was no long wait, since there were only very few cars. We were stopped and our Id's were scrutinized. Two of us, having rather new Id's. did not have the word ‘Jewess', but the place of birth instead, so we may have been somewhat suspicious! One of the soldiers knew who we were, the one who checked us had to be informed by his colleague and then let us pass. We parked beyond the CP and watched, but although every car was stopped, they all passed after a minute or so. We saw the new construction and vastness of Givat Zeev from this high point. We were not stopped when we exited into the Ramot Road (an oversight?).
On the way out we inspected the construction in Giv'on Hakhadasha and the few houses of Shuf-Khalula. A tiny hamlet - some of its residents have Palestinian Id's and have to apply to the DCL in Beit El for permits to go out of their homes.
We arrived at the Givat Zeev CP around 4:00 PM and indeed this was the time for most workers to come home and there was a steady stream. When we tried to enter their sleeve we were shouted at to move back. Most workers greeted us with a smile. A young man drives people who arrive at the CP home. Acts like a taxi, but has no permit as such. We saw two young women helping an older woman who could hardly walk across the long sleeves of the CP and were told that the taxis on the other side of the CP are about 500 yards away - no easy feat for people who have heavy bundles or are elderly.